Posts Tagged ‘online blackjack’

Is Playing Blackjack Online Better

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

In the beginning, any casino games online paled in comparison to their offline counterparts. You simply couldn’t duplicate the excitement and atmosphere. Though in some ways that is still the case, things are changing. You don’t have to be a regular reader of www.cnet.com to know that technology is developing exponentially faster than ever before, including in the online gambling industry. The technological advancements change the game entirely.

Now when people go to a website to play a little online blackjack, they can play against a live dealer via a video feed and chat system. They can communicate with the other players at the table. In blackjack tournaments they can compete directly against other players as they try to win prize money. The blackjack software is faster, smoother, and more lifelike.

All of that means that online blackjack is becoming more and more like the offline version of the game. With the entertainment gap shrinking, online blackjack is becoming the best way to play the game. As noted on blackjackhero.com, when you play online you already have the advantage of being able to play at your own pace, no matter how fast or slow that is. If you want a rapidly paced game, you can play as fast as you want. If you want to play slow so you can study a basic strategy chart and analyze each move, that is also an option.

As online blackjack becomes more social and includes more interactive features, it will increase in popularity. I doubt that land casinos will ever be completely replaced by online casinos. After all, you can’t replicate having a night out on the town. Still, online blackjack is here to stay and some day may be as popular as playing the game offline.

Woman shuts down online blackjack in entire country

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Online blackjack players in Armenia suddenly had all access to the online casino ripped away recently. The casinos, tournaments, and all access to the Internet was shut down by a single person: a 75-year-old woman in the Republic of Georgia.

On March 28, Aishtan Shakarian was savanging for scrap metal. During her searches, she accidentally damaged an “international fiber-optic cable that connects much of the southern Caucasus to Europe,” according to the Wall Street Journal. When she cut through the cable with her shovel, parts of Georgia lost connection to the Internet and the entire country of Armenia was knocked offline.

The country was entire offline for approximately 12 hours, unable to read the news, play at online casinos, watch Youtube, look at porn or anything else. That’s a lot of people affected by one woman searching for copper wire to sell.

Shakarian was arrested by Georgian authorities, though I’m sure the Armenian people wanted a piece of her as well. The woman faces a fine and community service or, as a worst-case scenario, one year in prison for the destruction of property. Because of her age, a police spokesman says that he “is not expecting the prosecution to push for a strict punishment.”

According to Georgian police, people scavenging for copper wires is common. Sale of scrap metal is also common in Georgia. They say that this isn’t the first time someone has cut the fiber-optic wire when scavenging for metal. The good news is that the Internet is back up and running in Georgia, Armenia and the rest of the Southern Caucasus region of Eastern Europe.

Bodog Reaches Blackjack Milestone

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

In the business world, online gambling is still pretty now. The industry began in the 1990s but only became immensely popular in recent years. During that time, businesses in general have seemed somewhat unstable. Companies would get to be big and then would go under due to poor word of mouth, a bad business model, the economy or other factors. Some brands branched out into various fields while others narrowed themselves into a niche market. What started as a fragmented industry has been consolidating, as larger companies buy out smaller competitors.

Taking all of that into consideration, the milestone recently set by Bodog Casino is pretty impressive. On Friday, March 4, Bodog dealt its billionth hand of blackjack. That is the first for any online casino in the world. When you consider that most people think of poker or sports betting when they think of Bodog, that milestone is again more impressive.

Reaching that number is not just good for Bodog and the publicity it is getting (including this blog you’re reading right now). It was also good for the player. That blackjack player has been given a choice between two different billionaire’s experiences to accept as a prize. One choice is a holiday vacation to Fiji’s exclusive Turtle Island. The other choice isn’t too shabby either: a trip on a private boat to the Monaco Grand Prix.

Bodog reaching that milestone shows that the company has had good longevity and it also shows that they have created customer loyalty. Mark Leighton, Bodog’s Casino Manager, is pretty excited about the accomplishment. “There are several gaming sites who have dealt a billion poker hands, Bodog included,” he said, “but to have dealt a billion blackjack hands is a very special milestone for the Bodog brand.”

Play free blackjack on Bing

Friday, February 4th, 2011

There are a lot of good ways to play the great game of blackjack. You can visit a brick and mortar casino, pick a table and start playing. You can log onto your computer, join an online casino and begin playing. You can play at a mobile casino using your cell phone. You can get out a deck of cards and play against your friends. Social networking sites like Facebook have apps that let you play. There is one way of playing that is entirely new to me, though: Bing.

Most people know of Bing as the search engine that is trying so hard to replace Google. Most of us want it to succeed, because Google is somewhat evil, but the problem with Bing is that, for the most part, it sucks. There is one cool new feature, though. Now you can play free online blackjack directly in the search engine.

To try it out, all you have to do is go to Bing.com and enter the term “blackjack” in the search box. You will find a couple paid ads and a lot of results for casinos and blackjack-related websites. One surprising result, though, is one that just says blackjack and has a picture of the card game. Next to it is a button that says “Play Now.”

Above the button is a brief introduction to the game: Beat the dealer! Make your bet, and you’re dealt two cards. If you think you can get closer to 21 without going over, have the dealer give you another. Do you feel lucky?

If you click the “Play Now” button, you are taken to a screen on Bing’s Online Games section. The search results are still available on the screen, but above that is a flash video that allows you to play free online blackjack. The game software is provided by a company called Arkadium.

The blackjack game is very basic, without a lot of bells or whistles. You see a blackjack table with five seats. You choose your bet and ask to be dealt cards. The cards magically fly out of the shoe and are given to you. The game automatically adds up the total for you and you have separate buttons for hit, stand, split and double. Interestingly, no cards are dealt to the other seats, not that it matters.

This game is certainly not the best blackjack simulation, but if you’re surfing Bing, it’s worth a try. I played it for a while and had some fun.

Blackjack Side Bets: Instant 18

Friday, December 17th, 2010

We all know that a hand of 18 is a pretty good hand. After all, following basic blackjack strategy, you will always stand on a hard 18, regardless of the dealer’s up card. Even if you’re terrible at math, you probably know that a hand of 18 can only be beaten by three hands: 19, 20 and 21.

Therefore, you would probably be pretty happy to be dealt an 18. Well, what if you could be guaranteed of being dealt a hand of exactly 18 on every round? Would you take those odds?

That is the option you have if the blackjack game you are playing has the “Instant 18” side bet. This side bet has been found in casinos in California, Las Vegas and online. The side bet is simple. In addition to one regular hand, you would wager on a second hand that will be exactly 18 points. Wins on the side bet pay even money.

That may sound like a great deal, but like all side bets, it is not. Casinos don’t offer side bets out of the kindness of their hearts. They offer side bets to make money. Like all side bets, the Instant 18 bet carries a higher house edge than the regular game. One of the things that lowers the house edge of traditional blackjack to as low as 0.5% is the fact that blackjacks pay out 3:2. If you lose that extra payout by having all wins pay even money, you lose a significant amount of money.

The house edge of the Instant 18 side bet is different depending on the number of decks and whether the dealer hits a soft 17. Most blackjack tables, including online, use eight decks, though. With eight decks, the house edge is 0.66% if the dealer stands on a soft 17. That’s not too bad, but it’s worse than the 0.5% for the regular game. If the dealer hits a soft 17, though, the house edge for that blackjack side bet is 2.06%. That’s more than an extra 2% that goes to the house.

Blackjack side bets can be a fun way to try something new, but they are not good for your wallet. For that reason, wise money management suggests avoiding all blackjack side bets.

Blackjack tips: stay away from side bets

Monday, September 20th, 2010

On this blog I have covered a number of popular blackjack variations, including perfect pairs, double exposure and more. Many of the blackjack variations are different because of a side bet that is offered. While many people like playing these games and enjoy the extra risk and challenge of the side bets, there is something you should remember: Side bets always have a higher house edge than the regular game. By sticking to blackjack basic strategy, the regular game of blackjack has a house edge of 0.5%. The side bets in any blackjack variant are going to be considerably higher than that. Therefore, the best strategy for your bankroll is to avoid side bets and stick to the regular game. Some other blackjack experts take that a step farther and say that side bets are “sucker bets.” I’ll be nicer and say that they don’t have good odds.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at two of the more popular blackjack side bets – perfect pairs and triple sevens – as examples. Perfect Pairs is a popular blackjack variation where at any time a player can bet that their first two cards will be a pair. If they bet on a pair and get one, they can earn a payout anywhere from 5 to 1 to 30 to 1, depending on the type of pair. You can have a mixed pair, a colored pair or a perfect pair in this side bet.

While those payouts may be enticing, the odds are not on your side. While the regular blackjack game has a 0.5% house edge with basic strategy, the perfect pairs side bet has a house edge from 3.37% to 7.95% with 8 decks. If it is a 2-deck game, the side bet has a house edge up to a ridiculous 26.2%. In case you’re thinking you can gain an advantage in this side bet by counting cards, keep in mind that in order to gain an advantage you would have to at least eliminate every card of one rank. That means keeping 13 different counts. Maybe Rain Man could do that, but can you? Also, if you’re playing online blackjack, card counting doesn’t work.

Lucky Sevens is another popular side bet, where you are paid 5 to 1 if your first card is a seven, 25 to 1 if your first two cards are unsuited sevens, 50 to 1 if your first two cards are suited sevens, 250 to 1 if your first 3 cards are unsuited sevens, 1000 to 1 if your first 3 cards are suited sevens and 41,227 to 1 if your first 3 cards are all diamond sevens. That side bet can be enticing because of those rather large payouts, but just like with the lottery, keno, roulette and more, the bigger the potential payout, the less likely an event is to happen. Those bets have a low probability of coming through for you. Even the most likely bet, getting a seven on your first card, has only a 7.1% chance of happening. Those two unsuited sevens only have a .04% chance of happening. The two suited sevens? That has a 0.11% probability.

What all of this means is that the experts are right. Side bets are not wise bets. Of course, neither is playing the lottery, and millions of people do that every day. If you happen to win it will be one of the greatest decisions of your life, but it’s definitely not the wise bet because you are most likely to be throwing your money away.

Shocking casino bonus at InterCasino

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Online blackjack can be a very rewarding game if you stick to basic strategy. While the house still has a 0.5% edge, you can easily have a successful session where you make money, especially if you get on a hot streak. If you’re playing blackjack at InterCasino, though, you can be rewarded in another way.

InterCasino is telling all of their customers to “prepare to be shocked.” Don’t worry; they mean that in a good way. Their Shock Bonus is a random bonus awarded to anyone at any time, as long as their playing one of the games at the online casino. Sound simple? It is.

At random times throughout the day, the online casino will randomly select a player from all of the players who are wagering at that time. That player will receive a surprise bonus as well as an additional surprise offer that is “tailor-made especially for you.” I’m guessing that the supplemental surprise offer will be different depending on what game you normally play, so if you play blackjack it would be different from if you’re a slot player. I’m just guessing, though, because the details on this bonus promotion are intentionally vague. That makes it more of a secret and more of shock. How much is the bonus? I don’t know. How often will they give out the Shock Bonus? Can’t tell. Are you intrigued? I am.

One of the few things that I do know is that there is no limit to the number of times a player can be picked. The odds may be against you winning it more than once, but if you play at the casino a lot, it’s definitely possible. Since the winners are chosen at random from those who are wagering, the more time you spend at the online casino, the better your chances of being picked.

To be eligible, you don’t have to make a deposit, enter a coupon code or opt in. All you have to do is wager on your favorite casino games, including online blackjack. To have a chance at being selected for the Shock Bonus, visit InterCasino.

Blackjack odds: Will dealer bust with a 5 or 6 up card?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Anyone schooled on blackjack basic strategy breathes a sigh of relief when they see the dealer draw a five or six as an up card. They know those are the worst dealer hands and they feel they have a good chance of winning. Players who don’t understand the blackjack odds, though, might assume that the dealer will bust and they will win. The truth is, that will happen less than half of the time.

The correct strategy against a dealer five or six up card is to stand if you have a 12 or higher, but that doesn’t guarantee success. Players look at the dealer up card and assume that they have a 15 or 16, given the fact that there are more ten cards in a deck than any other. However, there are only 4/13 odds of the dealer having a ten in the hole.

If the dealer has a 5 as an up card, there is a 4/13 chance that he has a hand of 15 because four cards (ten, jack, queen, king) give him that total. The dealer has a 7/13 chance of having any kind of stiff hand, which is a hand of 12-16. All stiff hands have good chances of busting, but your odds might not be as good as you think.

If the dealer has a five as an up card, he has a 41.8% chance of busting. He has a 12.2% chance of finishing with a hand total of 17, an identical chance of drawing an 18, an 11.8% chance of drawing a hand of 19, an 11.2% chance of finishing with a hand of 20 and a 10.8% chance of finishing with a hand of 21.

If the dealer has a six as an up card, he has a 42.3% chance of busting. He has a 16.6% chance of drawing a 17, a 10.6% chance of drawing an 18 or 19, a 10.2% chance of drawing a 20 and a 9.7% chance of drawing a 21.

What that means is if you have a hand of 12 and stand against a dealer 5 up card, you only have a 41.8% chance of winning the hand, because if the dealer finishes with any of those other totals, you lose. However, standing in that situation is still the best strategy because the risk of you busting if you take a hit.

Understanding the odds leads to making better decisions and getting more enjoyment out of the game of blackjack. Too many players get upset when they lose against a dealer five or six because they take a win for granted in that situation. Though your odds are good, they aren’t as good as most people think.

Perfect Pairs Blackjack tournament at InterCasino

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

InterCasino has a Perfect Pairs Blackjack Tournament going on right now and it’s a good opportunity to take a shot at prizes without risking much of your own money. The blackjack tournament only has a $250 prize pool, but the stakes are low – the entry fee is only $10.

If you only play the traditional blackjack game and are unfamiliar with the different blackjack variants, perfect pairs is a common variation with a side bet where the player earns extra money if their first two cards happen to be a pair. The payouts depend on the type of pair. A “perfect pair” is two identical cards, such as two aces of spades. Another type of pair is a “colored pair,” which is two cards that match in rank and color. An example would be a three of spades and a three of clubs, since both suits are black. The third type of pair is a “mixed pair,” which is a pair that matches in rank but is an opposite color.

InterCasino’s Perfect Pairs Blackjack Tournament is running now and ends Sunday, August 29. Until it ends, you can enter at any time. You just have to pony up the $10 buy-in. When you enter the tournament, the online casino gives you $500 worth of tournament chips with which to play. Your tournament lasts 30 minutes and you want to make as much tournament money as you can.

At the end, only the top six players in the blackjack tournament will win prizes. The tournament winner will earn a $100 prize. The second-place finisher will win a $50 prize. The players who finish in third through sixth place will win prizes worth $25 each.

To take part in the Perfect Pairs Blackjack Tournament, visit InterCasino before it ends on August 29.

$1 blackjack tables helping Atlantic City casinos

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

I have written before about how raising the minimum bet limits for blackjack tables can cause a drop in revenue for the casinos rather than an increase. Casino games, like any other product, good or service, is governed by the rules of supply and demand. Or at least they should be. The casinos charge a price to play the game that the players consider the games to be worth. If the casino charges too little money, they risk not making enough to justify carrying the game (or so they say). If they charge too much, players may opt to not play.

The casino industry is hurting thanks to the recession and they are looking for ways to increase revenue. Some casinos, such as those in Colorado, have made $10 tables the cheapest, but they risk losing some blackjack novices who don’t want to wager that price.  Some Atlantic City casinos are now taking the opposite route in an attempt to lure more players. The casino will make less money on each hand, but hopefully have more players.

The Trump Marina Hotel Casino, owned by that guy who fires people on TV, has introduced $1 blackjack tables in an attempt to boost business. As a result, they are seeing the best business they have had in years. Back in the 1990’s, $2 tables were common in Atlantic City, but those were gradually phased out in favor of $5 and even $10 tables as the cheapest.

With the resurgence in popularity for blackjack tables at the Trump Marina, here’s hoping that the $1 blackjack table trend will catch on. It’s the perfect way for gamblers with smaller incomes or novice gamblers to have fun at the casino without worrying too much about their cash.

Of course, at online casinos there are even more opportunities for low-minimum blackjack tables. It is common to find $1 and $2 blackjack tables online if you look hard enough. In addition, some online casinos hold blackjack tournaments, where you can buy in for a low price or maybe for no entry fee at all, if it’s a free blackjack tournament.